Summer is all about the barbecue, and Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop opened just in time to get everyone on a bbq roll. Thanks to Whitney from hoopLA, a few bloggers were invited to check out the menu and chow down at the street-side stop. With a table full of the shop’s signature items, we found ourselves enjoying one of the prime highlights of summer.
Smoked meats. Can you ever get enough? No matter how hot the sun shines, most people will say A-OK to a big slab of meat seasoned to perfection and cooked low and slow. Peg is her name, the smoker that is, and she can take care of nearly 300 pounds of meat at a time. The owners and chef consulted a competitive bbq griller during the recipe development phase to ensure the procedure and final taste would be just right. Here are a few of the things that hit the mark.
As an appetizer, the Chop Tots (left) and Slop Tots (right)–something like bbq version of a poutine–made their way to the table. Both plates feature crispy, crunchy tater tots and a creamy, cheesey sauce, but it is the middle layer either comes with housemade chorizo or tender brisket. Ask nicely, and you can make a swap of traditional tater tots for a mini paper boat full of fried sweet potato bites. Make sure you share the Tots with a couple of friends because you want to save room for the rest of the meat!
The Belly Up is Pork Belly’s signature sandwich, and here’s why: smoked, seasoned pork belly, crunchy cole slaw, brioche bread. Pork belly is one of our favorites because of the flavor, of course, but as it cooks, different parts of the meat can be tender, chewy, crunchy, fatty. You can spot the variety of textures if you take a peek under the bun, but the fun is experiencing those variances after each bite. Oh, and are you wondering about that mini chocolate chip cookie? Well, expect to find one rolled up with your sandwich, so be careful when you unwrap the goodies. Other notable sandwiches include The Chop featuring brisket and cole slaw, the Abbot Joe with chorizo, potatoes, green peppers and a fried egg, and the Smokey Balls with saucy pork and beef meatballs and melty cheese. Of course, there is something for the folks who don’t do pork or beef. Try the Cheesey Chicken Parm with tomato sauce and melted cheese or the Kinney Joe, which is made of vegetarian-approved Sloppy Joe with cole slaw.
One of the best sides were the fried pickles. Fried pickles are nothing new at restaurants across the city, but these were some of the best. Matter of fact, they may have been the absolute best. The crunch of the deep-fried cornmeal batter was perfect, and the pickle maintained its own snap as well. They were so perfectly fried that it was no problem sliding over the surface of the accompanying thick, spicy sauce. No bending or folding to report. Just right.
One more thing! Pork Belly’s is a walk-up sandwich shop, so grab your food to go if you cannot snag a standing spot at the corner table. You can also submit your order online if you want to save a bit of time. Labor Day may have come and gone, but summer will stick around as long as you want with one trip to Pork Belly’s.
Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop
1146 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291